Tag Archives: business

Everyone's an owner

Move over “Abramovich”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Abramovich, it’s our turn to own a soccer team. Much like the publicly-held “Green Bay Packers”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Bay_Packers#Public_company, “My Football Club.com”:http://www.myfootballclub.co.uk/ offers the chance to own and operate a real English soccer club, “Ebbsfleet United”:http://www.ebbsfleetunited.co.uk/. The idea behind the site and the service is that this brings fantasy sports play, a huge trend in recent years, into the real world. Co-owners vote on player acquisition, coaching staff and business ventures all through the website. It’s $70 to get a seat at the table so if your lifelong dream has been to own a sports franchise, “pony up”:http://members.myfootballclub.co.uk/register.

Unilever straddles fence when it comes to women

Picture the two most varied images of women you can come up with and chances are they might coincide with two ad campaigns from Dutch multinational “Unilever”:http://www.unilever.com/. Over the past few years Unilever-owned “Dove”:http://www.dove.us/ has marketed themselves as a brand for “real women.” Their TV ads feature everyday women giving testimonials in favor of the soap company and its products. Off-screen Dove lives up to its image with the “Dove Self-Esteem Fund”:http://www.campaignforrealbeauty.com/, a non-profit subsidiary dedicated to being “an agent of change to educate and inspire girls on a wider definition of beauty and to make them feel more confident about themselves.” In short, Dove seems to be the perfect personal care company.

On the other side of Unilever’s gender coin is a different brand with a very different message. “Axe”:http://www.theaxeeffect.com/flash.html sells sex. They also sell body spray, deodorant and shower gels, but the biggest thing they sell is sex. Axe commercials set a whole new standard for female objectification by portraying women as nothing but walking playgrounds for men who get all randy at the very sniff of a boy wearing Axe, often stooping to animal stupidity to get there.

By pushing both campaigns, Unilever makes it very clear that they don’t really care about the issues. Good business is simply good marketing and as long as it sells, principle doesn’t seem to matter. Does this mean that feminists should stop buying Dove, or misogynists stop buying Axe? I don’t know, but it’s worth noting the hypocrisy in pushing both images.

In case you haven’t seen either ad campaign, I’ve embedded samples from YouTube below.



Last.fm sold to CBS

I absolutely love when ingenious yet simple ideas garner mega-millions from big corporations. Today’s news brought another such story: CBS purchased Last.fm, the musical social networking megasite, for a sweet sum of $240 million dollars. Fortunately for everyone who loves the site, Last.fm will retain its autonomy, and the creators argue that being owned by CBS will allow them additional resources to improve the site.

Hopefully, we will see some better results with this transaction than we did with the “sale”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GameFAQs#CNET_acquisition of the best video game site on the internet, “GameFAQs”:http://www.gamefaqs.com, to “C|Net”:http://www.cnet.com.

Interactive advertisements

I was walking through a not so busy area in Paris yesterday when I noticed the above plaque next to a billboard advertisement for coffee. Here’s a translation:

??You are in front of an interactive advertisement.??
??To get a free multimedia offer from the brand shown on the poster??
??1. Activate your Bluetooth connection??
??2. Accept the mobile request??
??3. Get your media??

I’ve included below the “gift” below and it was depressingly lame. Just a small digital version of the billboard ad itself. The whole experience does make me wonder about all the fun ways this technology could be used to better advertise other things. Just one idea: What if the advertisement had been for a concert or an album being released? The “multimedia offer” could have been a free mp3 track or something equivalent. Of course, that wouldn’t help for coffee, but there’s always “smell-o-vision”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smell-o-vision.

Facebook launches Marketplace

Could “craigslist”:http://craigslist.com/ be in trouble? Social giant facebook’s new “marketplace”:http://facebook.com/marketplace feature will combine the social function of its site with an internet-based community marketing forum in which individual users can buy and sell anything from each other. Of course, this function is perfect for facebook users who are already self-organized into local city, company, or university networks. By combining the business functions with the social network, facebook could bring even more people into internet bartering/trade, assuring everyone on both ends of the transaction accountability. If you’re a facebook user, check out your local marketplace “here”:http://facebook.com/marketplace and see what’s for sale.

Time your child's birth right and you could win a Sebring

Perennially for sale car company Chrysler has come up with one of the weirder marketing gimicks I’ve seen in a while. In most ways, this is a normal win-a-car auction except for one catch, the only way to qualify to enter the contest is if you have a baby born at 2:03:04 on 05/06/07. I’m not sure whether they’re trying to say that their cars are good for new families, or that they just they like a good number joke, but this is something to keep in mind if you are due to deliver sometime in the next week. Stall.

(Via “Winding Road”:http://news.windingroad.com/marketingadvertising/have-a-baby-win-a-sebring/)

Budgeting for Your New Job

If you’re nearing graduation and about to step into the work force, changing your job, or just plain curious of the available salaries out there, then try “Salary.com”:http://www.salary.com. This site gives you the median salaries of the jobs you’re interested from the place (zip code) you specify. If that’s still not enough for your budgeting purposes, use “this calculator”:http://www.surepayroll.com/calculator/calc_paycheck_netpay.asp to enter in information like your salary, deductions, and some other (clearly defined) stuff to get a rough estimate of your take home pay. For my whopping salary, the after tax estimator was only $50 off. Still not enough? With some quick info entered into turbotax (“here”:http://turbotax.intuit.com/tax_help/tax_calculators/tax_estimator.jhtml) you can generate an estimated tax return. If it works out that you’re just not making enough, learn the best ways “to get promoted”:http://ezinearticles.com/?How-To-Get-Yourself-Promoted&id=500734, “how to switch fields”:http://www.jobprofiles.org/library/guidance/switch-careers.htm or, contrarily, “how to get fired”:http://careerplanning.about.com/od/workplacesurvival/a/get_fired.htm.

Save Money – Don't Sell Your Books to the Bookstore

Though many seasoned college students may know already this, the campus book store rips you off while both buying and selling your books. “Half.com”:www.half.com and “Amazon”:www.amazon.com are the two most popular book sites. However, these sites can be limited and typically more expensive than sites like “campus books”:http://www.campusbooks.com/, where you’ll save an average of 61% when purchasing books. When it comes to selling, I’ve personally got 10-15% more than what the book store offers. With the “cost of college”:http://www.collegeboard.com/press/releases/150634.html being as high as it is (and “rising”:http://www.collegeboard.com/prod_downloads/press/cost06/trends_college_pricing_06.pdf), every little bit helps. By cutting out the middle man, students get more for less during your purchase and sale. Everybody wins, except of course the bandits at the bookstore.

Whlie you’re at it, here are “118 other ways”:http://www.scholarships-ar-us.org/student-living/save-money.htm to save money at college,

Zopa.com. It's lending without the banks

http://www.zopa.com/ZopaWeb/ is social lending brought to the masses. The principle is no different from a 12 year-old kid asking her parents for 10 bucks to go to the movies, but the implications are much wider-ranging. Through the very pretty Zopa website, individuals can borrow from other individuals, much like the "earlier profiled":http://duenos.net/article/106/lend-money-online-to-third-world-entrepreneurs micro-lender "Kiva.org":http://www.kiva.org/. Unlike, Kiva, Zopa facilitates big loans in the same way that banks do, only with much lower interest rates. Spreading the risk over dozens of lenders, a £5,000 loan over 3 years would brook 6.38% interest as compared with high-street banks rates of 8.7%-14.9%. It's also a good deal for lenders who can dictate the rates and risk they're willing to take, making an average of 6.75%. Rather than feed the bloated banking industry, paying a 0.5% fee to Zopa seems like a good idea. Unfortunately Zopa is only working in the UK at the moment, although they do have plans to open in the US soon. *Redjoe says: "For a comparable US based site that aims to democratize the banking industry try "www.prosper.com":http://www.prosper.com/"

Virgin Earth Challenge

http://duenos.net/article/123/ a couple of days ago about the X Prize for auto efficiency, I bring you the Virgin Earth Challenge. Launched in February, 2007 Challenge prize of $25m will go to ??"whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth’s climate."?? Just like the X Prize, I hope this will provide the necessary impetus to get innovators and entrepreneurs to take the task of dealing with global warming seriously. For more about the competition, check out "the website":http://www.virginearth.com/.